Welcome to the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research!

Willkommen am Leibniz-Institut für Zoo- und Wildtierforschung (IZW)! Deutsche Version der IZW-Webseite.

The Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) is an interdisciplinary research institute dedicated to developing the scientific basis for novel approaches to wildlife conservation.

In the current era of the Anthropocene, virtually all ecosystems in the world are subjected to man-made impacts. As yet, it is not possible to predict the response of wildlife to the ever-increasing global change. Why are some wildlife species threatened by anthropogenic change, while others persist or even thrive in modified, degenerated or novel habitats?

To answer this and related questions, the IZW conducts basic and applied research across different scientific disciplines. We study the diversity of life histories and evolutionary adaptations and their limits, including diseases, of free-ranging and captive wildlife species, and their interactions with people and their environment in Germany, Europe and worldwide.

The IZW is a member of the Leibniz Association and the Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.

Silver-backed Chevrotain, Autor: Andrew Tilker/Leibniz-IZW
Silver-backed Chevrotain, Autor: Andrew Tilker/Leibniz-IZW

FOUND: Miniature Fanged ‘Deer’ Rediscovered Tiptoeing Through Vietnam’s Coastal Forests

First-ever Photos and Footage of Silver-backed Chevrotain Confirm First Rediscovery of Lost Mammal on Global Wildlife Conservation’s ‘Most Wanted’ List

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Removing snares, Author: Andrew Tilker/Leibniz-IZW
Removing snares, Author: Andrew Tilker/Leibniz-IZW

In Southeast Asia, illegal hunting is a more immediate threat to wildlife than forest degradation

For decades habitat loss and degradation were considered the important drivers for defaunation in tropical rainforest ecosystems. A new study carried out by the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) in cooperation with the World Wide Fund for Nature Vietnam (WWF-Vietnam) and the Sabah Forestry Department of the Government of Malaysia suggests that for ground dwelling mammal and bird communities, illegal hunting using indiscriminate snares may be a more immediate threat than forest degradation through selective logging. The researchers conducted a large scale camera-trapping study to compare several forest areas with logging concessions in Malaysian Borneo and protected areas in the Annamites ecoregion of Vietnam and Laos known to be subjected to illegal hunting. The results, published in the journal “Communications Biology”, show severe defaunation in snared forests compared to logged forests.

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Varied program at the Leibniz-IZW for the Berlin Science Week (Photos: unsplash.com/Leibniz-IZW/Berlin Science Week)
Varied program at the Leibniz-IZW for the Berlin Science Week (Photos: unsplash.com/Leibniz-IZW/Berlin Science Week)

Biodiversity in the lecture hall – Talks at the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research during the „Berlin Science Week“

The “Berlin Science Week" will take place from November 1 to November 10, 2019 at research institutions in Berlin. The festival brings together top researchers from all over the world with the local science community and the public in Germany’s capital. The Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) is participating in the festival with a lecture programme. The lectures on infectious diseases in animals, service dogs for wildlife research and the use of citizen sciences in biodiversity research will take place on November 5, 2019 in the lecture hall of the Leibniz-IZW. Admission is free.

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White-tailed sea eagle with fledgling in nest. Photo: Oliver Krone
White-tailed sea eagle with fledgling in nest. Photo: Oliver Krone

Proximity to paths and roads is a burden for white-tailed sea eagles

The white-tailed sea eagle is known for reacting sensitively to disturbances. However, research into which factors have which effects on the animals and how these impacts influence breeding success has so far only just begun. A research team led by Dr Oliver Krone from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) has now measured concentrations of the hormone corticosterone and its metabolic products in white-tailed sea eagles in northern Germany and correlated these values with potential causes of “stress”. They found that the levels of corticosterone in the birds' urine are higher the closer a breeding pair's nest is to paths or roads. From this, the scientists derive implications for the management and protection of white-tailed sea eagles, in particular for protection zones around the nests. The study was published in the journal "General and Comparative Endocrinology".

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Egyptian mongoose. Photo: Artemy Voikhansky, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=55825509
Egyptian mongoose. Photo: Artemy Voikhansky, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=55825509

It is not the hairstyle that matters, but the content: hair indicates whether wild animals were "stressed"

While hair analysis has become routine in humans – for example for the detection of prolonged drug or medication abuse – it has been little used in animals to date. Scientists led by Alexandre Azevedo and Katarina Jewgenow of the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) have now demonstrated that the "stress" hormone cortisol is deposited in hair of wild mongooses in Portugal and determined baselines for cortisol in these carnivores. Age, sex and storage time of the samples were reflected in the cortisol values, but not the season or reproductive status of the females. It is now possible to investigate whether different habitats and changed living conditions, such as the return of the Iberian lynx, place a particular burden on the mongooses. The results were recently published in the scientific journal "PLoS ONE".

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